A consortium led by Asia’s largest independent investment banking firm AMTD Group, including Chinese electronics company Xiaomi financial arm, Xiaomi Finance, energy company SP Group, and South East Asia’s online lending company Funding Societies, has submitted an application to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for a digital wholesale banking license in the city-state.
The consortium aims to meet the financing needs of small-and-medium-sized enterprises in Southeast Asia at all stages of their development, according to a press release of Xiaomi.
The MAS has disclosed on its website that it has received 21 applications for digital bank licenses, including seven applications for digital full bank licenses and 14 applications for digital wholesale bank licenses. Two full licenses and three wholesale licenses will be issued.
Other Chinese powerhouse companies such as fintech giant Ant Financial, ByteDance, and gaming hardware firm Razer have also participated in the banking race, together with other Southeast Asian companies such as Sea, which owns e-commerce marketplace Shopee, and Grab, which partnered with Singtel, among other firms.
Singapore’s authorities will announce the winners in mid-2020, and the new operators are expected to start operations gradually from mid-2021, according to Reuters.